Publications by authors named "Andrea Gsur"

69 Publications

Colorectal Cancer Study of Austria (CORSA): A Population-Based Multicenter Study.

Biology (Basel) 2021 Jul 28;10(8). Epub 2021 Jul 28.

Institute of Cancer Research, Department of Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

The Colorectal cancer Study of Austria (CORSA) is comprised more than 13,500 newly diagnosed colorectal cancer (CRC) patients, patients with high- and low-risk adenomas as well as population-based controls. The recruitment for the CORSA biobank is performed in close cooperation with the invited two-stage CRC screening project "Burgenland PREvention trial of colorectal Disease with ImmunologiCal Testing" (B-PREDICT). Annually, more than 150,000 inhabitants of the Austrian federal state Burgenland aged between 40 and 80 are invited to participate using FIT-tests as an initial screening. FIT-positive tested participants are offered a diagnostic colonoscopy and are asked to take part in CORSA, sign a written informed consent, complete questionnaires concerning dietary and lifestyle habits and provide an ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) blood sample as well as a stool sample. Additional CRC cases have been recruited at four hospitals in Vienna and a hospital in lower Austria. A major strength of CORSA is the population-based controls who are FIT-positive and colonoscopy-confirmed to be free of polyps and/or CRC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/biology10080722DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8389216PMC
July 2021

Circulating tryptophan metabolites and risk of colon cancer: Results from case-control and prospective cohort studies.

Int J Cancer 2021 Nov 12;149(9):1659-1669. Epub 2021 Jul 12.

International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France.

Dysregulation of tryptophan metabolism has been linked to colorectal tumorigenesis; however, epidemiological studies investigating tryptophan metabolites in relation to colorectal cancer risk are limited. We studied associations of plasma tryptophan, serotonin and kynurenine with colon cancer risk in two studies with cancer patients and controls, and in one prospective cohort: ColoCare Study (110 patients/153 controls), the Colorectal Cancer Study of Austria (CORSA; 46 patients/390 controls) and the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC; 456 matched case-control pairs). Logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for colon cancer risk. Tryptophan was inversely associated with colon cancer risk in ColoCare (OR per 1-SD = 0.44; 95% CI, 0.31-0.64) and EPIC (OR per 1-SD = 0.86; 95% CI, 0.74-0.99). Comparing detectable vs nondetectable levels, serotonin was positively associated with colon cancer in CORSA (OR = 6.39; 95% CI, 3.61-11.3) and EPIC (OR = 2.03; 95% CI, 1.20-3.40). Kynurenine was inversely associated with colon cancer in ColoCare (OR per 1-SD = 0.74; 95% CI, 0.55-0.98), positively associated in CORSA (OR per 1-SD = 1.79; 95% CI, 1.27-2.52), while no association was observed in EPIC. The kynurenine-to-tryptophan ratio was positively associated with colon cancer in ColoCare (OR per 1-SD = 1.38; 95% CI, 1.03-1.84) and CORSA (OR per 1-SD = 1.44; 95% CI, 1.06-1.96), but not in EPIC. These results suggest that higher plasma tryptophan may be associated with lower colon cancer risk, while increased serotonin may be associated with a higher risk of colon cancer. The kynurenine-to-tryptophan ratio may also reflect altered tryptophan catabolism during colon cancer development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.33725DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8429124PMC
November 2021

Genome-wide analysis of 944 133 individuals provides insights into the etiology of haemorrhoidal disease.

Gut 2021 Apr 22. Epub 2021 Apr 22.

Department of Medicine I, Institute of Cancer Research, Medical University Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Objective: Haemorrhoidal disease (HEM) affects a large and silently suffering fraction of the population but its aetiology, including suspected genetic predisposition, is poorly understood. We report the first genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analysis to identify genetic risk factors for HEM to date.

Design: We conducted a GWAS meta-analysis of 218 920 patients with HEM and 725 213 controls of European ancestry. Using GWAS summary statistics, we performed multiple genetic correlation analyses between HEM and other traits as well as calculated HEM polygenic risk scores (PRS) and evaluated their translational potential in independent datasets. Using functional annotation of GWAS results, we identified HEM candidate genes, which differential expression and coexpression in HEM tissues were evaluated employing RNA-seq analyses. The localisation of expressed proteins at selected loci was investigated by immunohistochemistry.

Results: We demonstrate modest heritability and genetic correlation of HEM with several other diseases from the GI, neuroaffective and cardiovascular domains. HEM PRS validated in 180 435 individuals from independent datasets allowed the identification of those at risk and correlated with younger age of onset and recurrent surgery. We identified 102 independent HEM risk loci harbouring genes whose expression is enriched in blood vessels and GI tissues, and in pathways associated with smooth muscles, epithelial and endothelial development and morphogenesis. Network transcriptomic analyses highlighted HEM gene coexpression modules that are relevant to the development and integrity of the musculoskeletal and epidermal systems, and the organisation of the extracellular matrix.

Conclusion: HEM has a genetic component that predisposes to smooth muscle, epithelial and connective tissue dysfunction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-323868DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8292596PMC
April 2021

Polymorphisms within Autophagy-Related Genes Influence the Risk of Developing Colorectal Cancer: A Meta-Analysis of Four Large Cohorts.

Cancers (Basel) 2021 Mar 12;13(6). Epub 2021 Mar 12.

Division of Molecular Genetic Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.

The role of genetic variation in autophagy-related genes in modulating autophagy and cancer is poorly understood. Here, we comprehensively investigated the association of autophagy-related variants with colorectal cancer (CRC) risk and provide new insights about the molecular mechanisms underlying the associations. After meta-analysis of the genome-wide association study (GWAS) data from four independent European cohorts (8006 CRC cases and 7070 controls), two loci, ( = 2.19 × 10) and ( = 6.28 × 10) were associated with the risk of CRC. Mechanistically, the allele was associated with IL1 β levels after the stimulation of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with ( = 0.002), CD24 + CD38 + CD27 + IgM + B cell levels in blood ( = 0.0038) and serum levels of en-RAGE ( = 0.0068). allele was associated with TNF α and IL1 β levels after the stimulation of PBMCs with LPS ( = 0.0088 and = 0.0076, respectively), CD14+CD16- cell levels in blood ( = 0.0068) and serum levels of CCL19 and cortisol ( = 0.0052 and = 0.0074, respectively). Interestingly, no association with autophagy flux was observed. These results suggested an effect of the and loci in the pathogenesis of CRC, likely through the modulation of host immune responses.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/cancers13061258DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7998818PMC
March 2021

Genetically predicted circulating concentrations of micronutrients and risk of colorectal cancer among individuals of European descent: a Mendelian randomization study.

Am J Clin Nutr 2021 06;113(6):1490-1502

Division of Cancer Epidemiology, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.

Background: The literature on associations of circulating concentrations of minerals and vitamins with risk of colorectal cancer is limited and inconsistent. Evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to support the efficacy of dietary modification or nutrient supplementation for colorectal cancer prevention is also limited.

Objectives: To complement observational and RCT findings, we investigated associations of genetically predicted concentrations of 11 micronutrients (β-carotene, calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12, and zinc) with colorectal cancer risk using Mendelian randomization (MR).

Methods: Two-sample MR was conducted using 58,221 individuals with colorectal cancer and 67,694 controls from the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium, Colorectal Cancer Transdisciplinary Study, and Colon Cancer Family Registry. Inverse variance-weighted MR analyses were performed with sensitivity analyses to assess the impact of potential violations of MR assumptions.

Results: Nominally significant associations were noted for genetically predicted iron concentration and higher risk of colon cancer [ORs per SD (ORSD): 1.08; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.17; P value = 0.05] and similarly for proximal colon cancer, and for vitamin B-12 concentration and higher risk of colorectal cancer (ORSD: 1.12; 95% CI: 1.03, 1.21; P value = 0.01) and similarly for colon cancer. A nominally significant association was also noted for genetically predicted selenium concentration and lower risk of colon cancer (ORSD: 0.98; 95% CI: 0.96, 1.00; P value = 0.05) and similarly for distal colon cancer. These associations were robust to sensitivity analyses. Nominally significant inverse associations were observed for zinc and risk of colorectal and distal colon cancers, but sensitivity analyses could not be performed. None of these findings survived correction for multiple testing. Genetically predicted concentrations of β-carotene, calcium, copper, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin B-6 were not associated with disease risk.

Conclusions: These results suggest possible causal associations of circulating iron and vitamin B-12 (positively) and selenium (inversely) with risk of colon cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqab003DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8168352PMC
June 2021

Untargeted Metabolomics Reveals Major Differences in the Plasma Metabolome between Colorectal Cancer and Colorectal Adenomas.

Metabolites 2021 Feb 19;11(2). Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Institute of Cancer Research, Department of Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.

Sporadic colorectal cancer is characterized by a multistep progression from normal epithelium to precancerous low-risk and high-risk adenomas to invasive cancer. Yet, the underlying molecular mechanisms of colorectal carcinogenesis are not completely understood. Within the "Metabolomic profiles throughout the continuum of colorectal cancer" (MetaboCCC) consortium we analyzed data generated by untargeted, mass spectrometry-based metabolomics using plasma from 88 colorectal cancer patients, 200 patients with high-risk adenomas and 200 patients with low-risk adenomas recruited within the "Colorectal Cancer Study of Austria" (CORSA). Univariate logistic regression models comparing colorectal cancer to adenomas resulted in 442 statistically significant molecular features. Metabolites discriminating colorectal cancer patients from those with adenomas in our dataset included acylcarnitines, caffeine, amino acids, glycerophospholipids, fatty acids, bilirubin, bile acids and bacterial metabolites of tryptophan. The data obtained discovers metabolite profiles reflecting metabolic differences between colorectal cancer and colorectal adenomas and delineates a potentially underlying biological interpretation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/metabo11020119DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7922413PMC
February 2021

Targeted Plasma Metabolic Profiles and Risk of Recurrence in Stage II and III Colorectal Cancer Patients: Results from an International Cohort Consortium.

Metabolites 2021 Feb 24;11(3). Epub 2021 Feb 24.

Huntsman Cancer Institute Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.

The identification of patients at high-risk for colorectal cancer (CRC) recurrence remains an unmet clinical need. The aim of this study was to investigate associations of metabolites with risk of recurrence in stage II/III CRC patients. A targeted metabolomics assay (128 metabolites measured) was performed on pre-surgery collected EDTA plasma samples from n = 440 newly diagnosed stage II/III CRC patients. Patients have been recruited from four prospective cohort studies as part of an international consortium: Metabolomic profiles throughout the continuum of CRC (MetaboCCC). Cox proportional hazard models were computed to investigate associations of metabolites with recurrence, adjusted for age, sex, tumor stage, tumor site, body mass index, and cohort; false discovery rate (FDR) was used to account for multiple testing. Sixty-nine patients (15%) had a recurrence after a median follow-up time of 20 months. We identified 13 metabolites that were nominally associated with a reduced risk of recurrence. None of the associations were statistically significant after controlling for multiple testing. Pathway topology analyses did not reveal statistically significant associations between recurrence and alterations in metabolic pathways (e.g., sphingolipid metabolism = 0.04; p = 1.00). To conclude, we did not observe statistically significant associations between metabolites and CRC recurrence using a well-established metabolomics assay. The observed results require follow-up in larger studies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/metabo11030129DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7996362PMC
February 2021

Circulating B-vitamin biomarkers and B-vitamin supplement use in relation to quality of life in patients with colorectal cancer: results from the FOCUS consortium.

Am J Clin Nutr 2021 06;113(6):1468-1481

Department of General, Visceral and Transplantation Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.

Background: B vitamins have been associated with the risk and progression of colorectal cancer (CRC), given their central roles in nucleotide synthesis and methylation, yet their association with quality of life in established CRC is unclear.

Objectives: To investigate whether quality of life 6 months postdiagnosis is associated with: 1) circulating concentrations of B vitamins and related biomarkers 6 months postdiagnosis; 2) changes in these concentrations between diagnosis and 6 months postdiagnosis; 3) B-vitamin supplement use 6 months postdiagnosis; and 4) changes in B-vitamin supplement use between diagnosis and 6 months postdiagnosis.

Methods: We included 1676 newly diagnosed stage I-III CRC patients from 3 prospective European cohorts. Circulating concentrations of 9 biomarkers related to the B vitamins folate, riboflavin, vitamin B6, and cobalamin were measured at diagnosis and 6 months postdiagnosis. Information on dietary supplement use was collected at both time points. Health-related quality of life (global quality of life, functioning scales, and fatigue) was assessed by the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire 6 months postdiagnosis. Confounder-adjusted linear regression analyses were performed, adjusted for multiple testing.

Results: Higher pyridoxal 5'-phosphate (PLP) was cross-sectionally associated with better physical, role, and social functioning, as well as reduced fatigue, 6 months postdiagnosis. Associations were observed for a doubling in the hydroxykynurenine ratio [3-hydroxykynurenine: (kynurenic acid + xanthurenic acid + 3-hydroxyanthranilic acid + anthranilic acid); an inverse marker of vitamin B6] and both reduced global quality of life (β = -3.62; 95% CI: -5.88, -1.36) and worse physical functioning (β = -5.01; 95% CI: -7.09, -2.94). Dose-response relations were observed for PLP and quality of life. No associations were observed for changes in biomarker concentrations between diagnosis and 6 months. Participants who stopped using B-vitamin supplements after diagnosis reported higher fatigue than nonusers.

Conclusions: Higher vitamin B6 status was associated with better quality of life, yet limited associations were observed for the use of B-vitamin supplements. Vitamin B6 needs further study to clarify its role in relation to quality of life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqaa422DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8168355PMC
June 2021

Genetic architectures of proximal and distal colorectal cancer are partly distinct.

Gut 2021 Jul 25;70(7):1325-1334. Epub 2021 Feb 25.

Cancer Prevention and Control Program, Catalan Institute of Oncology - IDIBELL, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain.

Objective: An understanding of the etiologic heterogeneity of colorectal cancer (CRC) is critical for improving precision prevention, including individualized screening recommendations and the discovery of novel drug targets and repurposable drug candidates for chemoprevention. Known differences in molecular characteristics and environmental risk factors among tumors arising in different locations of the colorectum suggest partly distinct mechanisms of carcinogenesis. The extent to which the contribution of inherited genetic risk factors for CRC differs by anatomical subsite of the primary tumor has not been examined.

Design: To identify new anatomical subsite-specific risk loci, we performed genome-wide association study (GWAS) meta-analyses including data of 48 214 CRC cases and 64 159 controls of European ancestry. We characterised effect heterogeneity at CRC risk loci using multinomial modelling.

Results: We identified 13 loci that reached genome-wide significance (p<5×10) and that were not reported by previous GWASs for overall CRC risk. Multiple lines of evidence support candidate genes at several of these loci. We detected substantial heterogeneity between anatomical subsites. Just over half (61) of 109 known and new risk variants showed no evidence for heterogeneity. In contrast, 22 variants showed association with distal CRC (including rectal cancer), but no evidence for association or an attenuated association with proximal CRC. For two loci, there was strong evidence for effects confined to proximal colon cancer.

Conclusion: Genetic architectures of proximal and distal CRC are partly distinct. Studies of risk factors and mechanisms of carcinogenesis, and precision prevention strategies should take into consideration the anatomical subsite of the tumour.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/gutjnl-2020-321534DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8223655PMC
July 2021

Diet quality indices and dietary patterns are associated with plasma metabolites in colorectal cancer patients.

Eur J Nutr 2021 Sep 5;60(6):3171-3184. Epub 2021 Feb 5.

Division of Human Nutrition and Health, Wageningen University and Research, P.O. Box 17, 6700 AA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.

Purpose: Emerging evidence suggests that diet is linked to survival in colorectal cancer patients, although underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether dietary exposures are associated with metabolite concentrations in colorectal cancer patients.

Methods: Concentrations of 134 metabolites of the Biocrates Absolute p180 kit were quantified in plasma samples collected at diagnosis from 195 stage I-IV colorectal cancer patients. Food frequency questionnaires were used to calculate adherence to the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) dietary recommendations and the Dutch Healthy Diet (DHD15) index as well as to construct dietary patterns using Principal Component Analysis. Multivariable linear regression models were used to determine associations between dietary exposures and metabolite concentrations. All models were adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, smoking status, analytical batch, cancer stage, and multiple testing using false discovery rate.

Results: Participants had a mean (SD) age of 66 (9) years, were mostly men (60%), and mostly diagnosed with stage II and III cancer. For the dietary pattern analyses, Western, Carnivore, and Prudent patterns were identified. Better adherence to the WCRF dietary recommendations was associated with lower concentrations of ten phosphatidylcholines. Higher intake of the Carnivore pattern was associated with higher concentrations of two phosphatidylcholines. The DHD15-index, Western pattern, or Prudent pattern were not associated with metabolite concentrations.

Conclusion: In the current study, the WCRF dietary score and the Carnivore pattern are associated with phosphatidylcholines. Future research should elucidate the potential relevance of phosphatidylcholine metabolism in the colorectal cancer continuum.

Clinical Trial Registry: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03191110.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00394-021-02488-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8354955PMC
September 2021

Lack of an association between gallstone disease and bilirubin levels with risk of colorectal cancer: a Mendelian randomisation analysis.

Br J Cancer 2021 03 7;124(6):1169-1174. Epub 2021 Jan 7.

Division of Genetics and Epidemiology, The Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK.

Background: Epidemiological studies of the relationship between gallstone disease and circulating levels of bilirubin with risk of developing colorectal cancer (CRC) have been inconsistent. To address possible confounding and reverse causation, we examine the relationship between these potential risk factors and CRC using Mendelian randomisation (MR).

Methods: We used two-sample MR to examine the relationship between genetic liability to gallstone disease and circulating levels of bilirubin with CRC in 26,397 patients and 41,481 controls. We calculated the odds ratio per genetically predicted SD unit increase in log bilirubin levels (OR) for CRC and tested for a non-zero causal effect of gallstones on CRC. Sensitivity analysis was applied to identify violations of estimator assumptions.

Results: No association between either gallstone disease (P value = 0.60) or circulating levels of bilirubin (OR = 1.00, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.96-1.03, P value = 0.90) with CRC was shown.

Conclusions: Despite the large scale of this study, we found no evidence for a causal relationship between either circulating levels of bilirubin or gallstone disease with risk of developing CRC. While the magnitude of effect suggested by some observational studies can confidently be excluded, we cannot exclude the possibility of smaller effect sizes and non-linear relationships.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41416-020-01211-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7961009PMC
March 2021

Adiposity, metabolites, and colorectal cancer risk: Mendelian randomization study.

BMC Med 2020 12 17;18(1):396. Epub 2020 Dec 17.

Division of Clinical Epidemiology and Aging Research, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany.

Background: Higher adiposity increases the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC), but whether this relationship varies by anatomical sub-site or by sex is unclear. Further, the metabolic alterations mediating the effects of adiposity on CRC are not fully understood.

Methods: We examined sex- and site-specific associations of adiposity with CRC risk and whether adiposity-associated metabolites explain the associations of adiposity with CRC. Genetic variants from genome-wide association studies of body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR, unadjusted for BMI; N = 806,810), and 123 metabolites from targeted nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomics (N = 24,925), were used as instruments. Sex-combined and sex-specific Mendelian randomization (MR) was conducted for BMI and WHR with CRC risk (58,221 cases and 67,694 controls in the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium, Colorectal Cancer Transdisciplinary Study, and Colon Cancer Family Registry). Sex-combined MR was conducted for BMI and WHR with metabolites, for metabolites with CRC, and for BMI and WHR with CRC adjusted for metabolite classes in multivariable models.

Results: In sex-specific MR analyses, higher BMI (per 4.2 kg/m) was associated with 1.23 (95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.08, 1.38) times higher CRC odds among men (inverse-variance-weighted (IVW) model); among women, higher BMI (per 5.2 kg/m) was associated with 1.09 (95% CI = 0.97, 1.22) times higher CRC odds. WHR (per 0.07 higher) was more strongly associated with CRC risk among women (IVW OR = 1.25, 95% CI = 1.08, 1.43) than men (IVW OR = 1.05, 95% CI = 0.81, 1.36). BMI or WHR was associated with 104/123 metabolites at false discovery rate-corrected P ≤ 0.05; several metabolites were associated with CRC, but not in directions that were consistent with the mediation of positive adiposity-CRC relations. In multivariable MR analyses, associations of BMI and WHR with CRC were not attenuated following adjustment for representative metabolite classes, e.g., the univariable IVW OR for BMI with CRC was 1.12 (95% CI = 1.00, 1.26), and this became 1.11 (95% CI = 0.99, 1.26) when adjusting for cholesterol in low-density lipoprotein particles.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that higher BMI more greatly raises CRC risk among men, whereas higher WHR more greatly raises CRC risk among women. Adiposity was associated with numerous metabolic alterations, but none of these explained associations between adiposity and CRC. More detailed metabolomic measures are likely needed to clarify the mechanistic pathways.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12916-020-01855-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7745469PMC
December 2020

A Combined Proteomics and Mendelian Randomization Approach to Investigate the Effects of Aspirin-Targeted Proteins on Colorectal Cancer.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2021 03 14;30(3):564-575. Epub 2020 Dec 14.

Nutrition and Metabolism Section, International Agency for Research on Cancer, World Health Organization, Lyon, France.

Background: Evidence for aspirin's chemopreventative properties on colorectal cancer (CRC) is substantial, but its mechanism of action is not well-understood. We combined a proteomic approach with Mendelian randomization (MR) to identify possible new aspirin targets that decrease CRC risk.

Methods: Human colorectal adenoma cells (RG/C2) were treated with aspirin (24 hours) and a stable isotope labeling with amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) based proteomics approach identified altered protein expression. Protein quantitative trait loci (pQTLs) from INTERVAL ( = 3,301) and expression QTLs (eQTLs) from the eQTLGen Consortium ( = 31,684) were used as genetic proxies for protein and mRNA expression levels. Two-sample MR of mRNA/protein expression on CRC risk was performed using eQTL/pQTL data combined with CRC genetic summary data from the Colon Cancer Family Registry (CCFR), Colorectal Transdisciplinary (CORECT), Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer (GECCO) consortia and UK Biobank (55,168 cases and 65,160 controls).

Results: Altered expression was detected for 125/5886 proteins. Of these, aspirin decreased MCM6, RRM2, and ARFIP2 expression, and MR analysis showed that a standard deviation increase in mRNA/protein expression was associated with increased CRC risk (OR: 1.08, 95% CI, 1.03-1.13; OR: 3.33, 95% CI, 2.46-4.50; and OR: 1.15, 95% CI, 1.02-1.29, respectively).

Conclusions: MCM6 and RRM2 are involved in DNA repair whereby reduced expression may lead to increased DNA aberrations and ultimately cancer cell death, whereas ARFIP2 is involved in actin cytoskeletal regulation, indicating a possible role in aspirin's reduction of metastasis.

Impact: Our approach has shown how laboratory experiments and population-based approaches can combine to identify aspirin-targeted proteins possibly affecting CRC risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1176DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8086774PMC
March 2021

Circulating Folate and Folic Acid Concentrations: Associations With Colorectal Cancer Recurrence and Survival.

JNCI Cancer Spectr 2020 Oct 7;4(5):pkaa051. Epub 2020 Jul 7.

Department of Surgery, Hospital Group Twente ZGT, Almelo, the Netherlands.

Background: Folates, including folic acid, may play a dual role in colorectal cancer development. Folate is suggested to be protective in early carcinogenesis but could accelerate growth of premalignant lesions or micrometastases. Whether circulating concentrations of folate and folic acid, measured around time of diagnosis, are associated with recurrence and survival in colorectal cancer patients is largely unknown.

Methods: Circulating concentrations of folate, folic acid, and folate catabolites p-aminobenzoylglutamate and p-acetamidobenzoylglutamate were measured by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry at diagnosis in 2024 stage I-III colorectal cancer patients from European and US patient cohort studies. Multivariable-adjusted Cox proportional hazard models were used to assess associations between folate, folic acid, and folate catabolites concentrations with recurrence, overall survival, and disease-free survival.

Results: No statistically significant associations were observed between folate, p-aminobenzoylglutamate, and p-acetamidobenzoylglutamate concentrations and recurrence, overall survival, and disease-free survival, with hazard ratios ranging from 0.92 to 1.16. The detection of folic acid in the circulation (yes or no) was not associated with any outcome. However, among patients with detectable folic acid concentrations (n = 296), a higher risk of recurrence was observed for each twofold increase in folic acid (hazard ratio = 1.31, 95% confidence interval = 1.02 to 1.58). No statistically significant associations were found between folic acid concentrations and overall and disease-free survival.

Conclusions: Circulating folate and folate catabolite concentrations at colorectal cancer diagnosis were not associated with recurrence and survival. However, caution is warranted for high blood concentrations of folic acid because they may increase the risk of colorectal cancer recurrence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jncics/pkaa051DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7583160PMC
October 2020

Identifying Novel Susceptibility Genes for Colorectal Cancer Risk From a Transcriptome-Wide Association Study of 125,478 Subjects.

Gastroenterology 2021 03 12;160(4):1164-1178.e6. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics and the Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

Background And Aims: Susceptibility genes and the underlying mechanisms for the majority of risk loci identified by genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for colorectal cancer (CRC) risk remain largely unknown. We conducted a transcriptome-wide association study (TWAS) to identify putative susceptibility genes.

Methods: Gene-expression prediction models were built using transcriptome and genetic data from the 284 normal transverse colon tissues of European descendants from the Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx), and model performance was evaluated using data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (n = 355). We applied the gene-expression prediction models and GWAS data to evaluate associations of genetically predicted gene-expression with CRC risk in 58,131 CRC cases and 67,347 controls of European ancestry. Dual-luciferase reporter assays and knockdown experiments in CRC cells and tumor xenografts were conducted.

Results: We identified 25 genes associated with CRC risk at a Bonferroni-corrected threshold of P < 9.1 × 10, including genes in 4 novel loci, PYGL (14q22.1), RPL28 (19q13.42), CAPN12 (19q13.2), MYH7B (20q11.22), and MAP1L3CA (20q11.22). In 9 known GWAS-identified loci, we uncovered 9 genes that have not been reported previously, whereas 4 genes remained statistically significant after adjusting for the lead risk variant of the locus. Through colocalization analysis in GWAS loci, we additionally identified 12 putative susceptibility genes that were supported by TWAS analysis at P < .01. We showed that risk allele of the lead risk variant rs1741640 affected the promoter activity of CABLES2. Knockdown experiments confirmed that CABLES2 plays a vital role in colorectal carcinogenesis.

Conclusions: Our study reveals new putative susceptibility genes and provides new insight into the biological mechanisms underlying CRC development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2020.08.062DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7956223PMC
March 2021

Genome-wide Modeling of Polygenic Risk Score in Colorectal Cancer Risk.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 09 5;107(3):432-444. Epub 2020 Aug 5.

School of Public Health, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK.

Accurate colorectal cancer (CRC) risk prediction models are critical for identifying individuals at low and high risk of developing CRC, as they can then be offered targeted screening and interventions to address their risks of developing disease (if they are in a high-risk group) and avoid unnecessary screening and interventions (if they are in a low-risk group). As it is likely that thousands of genetic variants contribute to CRC risk, it is clinically important to investigate whether these genetic variants can be used jointly for CRC risk prediction. In this paper, we derived and compared different approaches to generating predictive polygenic risk scores (PRS) from genome-wide association studies (GWASs) including 55,105 CRC-affected case subjects and 65,079 control subjects of European ancestry. We built the PRS in three ways, using (1) 140 previously identified and validated CRC loci; (2) SNP selection based on linkage disequilibrium (LD) clumping followed by machine-learning approaches; and (3) LDpred, a Bayesian approach for genome-wide risk prediction. We tested the PRS in an independent cohort of 101,987 individuals with 1,699 CRC-affected case subjects. The discriminatory accuracy, calculated by the age- and sex-adjusted area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (AUC), was highest for the LDpred-derived PRS (AUC = 0.654) including nearly 1.2 M genetic variants (the proportion of causal genetic variants for CRC assumed to be 0.003), whereas the PRS of the 140 known variants identified from GWASs had the lowest AUC (AUC = 0.629). Based on the LDpred-derived PRS, we are able to identify 30% of individuals without a family history as having risk for CRC similar to those with a family history of CRC, whereas the PRS based on known GWAS variants identified only top 10% as having a similar relative risk. About 90% of these individuals have no family history and would have been considered average risk under current screening guidelines, but might benefit from earlier screening. The developed PRS offers a way for risk-stratified CRC screening and other targeted interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.07.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7477007PMC
September 2020

Landscape of somatic single nucleotide variants and indels in colorectal cancer and impact on survival.

Nat Commun 2020 07 20;11(1):3644. Epub 2020 Jul 20.

Department of Preventive Medicine, USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, 1441 Eastlake Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90089, USA.

Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a biologically heterogeneous disease. To characterize its mutational profile, we conduct targeted sequencing of 205 genes for 2,105 CRC cases with survival data. Our data shows several findings in addition to enhancing the existing knowledge of CRC. We identify PRKCI, SPZ1, MUTYH, MAP2K4, FETUB, and TGFBR2 as additional genes significantly mutated in CRC. We find that among hypermutated tumors, an increased mutation burden is associated with improved CRC-specific survival (HR = 0.42, 95% CI: 0.21-0.82). Mutations in TP53 are associated with poorer CRC-specific survival, which is most pronounced in cases carrying TP53 mutations with predicted 0% transcriptional activity (HR = 1.53, 95% CI: 1.21-1.94). Furthermore, we observe differences in mutational frequency of several genes and pathways by tumor location, stage, and sex. Overall, this large study provides deep insights into somatic mutations in CRC, and their potential relationships with survival and tumor features.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17386-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7371703PMC
July 2020

Multi-omics Analysis Reveals Adipose-tumor Crosstalk in Patients with Colorectal Cancer.

Cancer Prev Res (Phila) 2020 10 12;13(10):817-828. Epub 2020 Jul 12.

International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Lyon, France.

Obesity and obesity-driven cancer rates are continuing to rise worldwide. We hypothesize that adipocyte-colonocyte interactions are a key driver of obesity-associated cancers. To understand the clinical relevance of visceral adipose tissue in advancing tumor growth, we analyzed paired tumor-adjacent visceral adipose, normal mucosa, and colorectal tumor tissues as well as presurgery blood samples from patients with sporadic colorectal cancer. We report that high peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma () visceral adipose tissue expression is associated with glycoprotein VI (GPVI) signaling-the major signaling receptor for collagen-as well as fibrosis and adipogenesis pathway signaling in colorectal tumors. These associations were supported by correlations between visceral adipose tissue expression and circulating levels of plasma 4-hydroxyproline and serum intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM1), as well as gene set enrichment analysis and joint gene-metabolite pathway results integration that yielded significant enrichment of genes defining epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition-as in fibrosis and metastasis-and genes involved in glycolytic metabolism, confirmed this association. We also reveal that elevated prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 () colorectal tumor expression is associated with a fibrotic signature in adipose-tumor crosstalk via GPVI signaling and dendritic cell maturation in visceral adipose tissue. Systemic metabolite and biomarker profiling confirmed that high expression in colorectal tumors is significantly associated with higher concentrations of serum amyloid A and glycine, and lower concentrations of sphingomyelin, in patients with colorectal cancer. This multi-omics study suggests that adipose-tumor crosstalk in patients with colorectal cancer is a critical microenvironment interaction that could be therapeutically targeted..
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-19-0538DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7877796PMC
October 2020

Impact of Pre-blood Collection Factors on Plasma Metabolomic Profiles.

Metabolites 2020 May 21;10(5). Epub 2020 May 21.

Population Sciences, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA.

Demographic, lifestyle and biospecimen-related factors at the time of blood collection can influence metabolite levels in epidemiological studies. Identifying the major influences on metabolite concentrations is critical to designing appropriate sample collection protocols and considering covariate adjustment in metabolomics analyses. We examined the association of age, sex, and other short-term pre-blood collection factors (time of day, season, fasting duration, physical activity, NSAID use, smoking and alcohol consumption in the days prior to collection) with 133 targeted plasma metabolites (acylcarnitines, amino acids, biogenic amines, sphingolipids, glycerophospholipids, and hexoses) among 108 individuals that reported exposures within 48 h before collection. The differences in mean metabolite concentrations were assessed between groups based on pre-collection factors using two-sided -tests and ANOVA with FDR correction. Percent differences in metabolite concentrations were negligible across season, time of day of collection, fasting status or lifestyle behaviors at the time of collection, including physical activity or the use of tobacco, alcohol or NSAIDs. The metabolites differed in concentration between the age and sex categories for 21.8% and 14.3% metabolites, respectively. In conclusion, extrinsic factors in the short period prior to collection were not meaningfully associated with concentrations of selected endogenous metabolites in a cross-sectional sample, though metabolite concentrations differed by age and sex. Larger studies with more coverage of the human metabolome are warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/metabo10050213DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7281389PMC
May 2020

Metabolomics profiling of visceral and abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue in colorectal cancer patients: results from the ColoCare study.

Cancer Causes Control 2020 Aug 19;31(8):723-735. Epub 2020 May 19.

Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.

Purpose: Underlying mechanisms of the relationship between body fatness and colorectal cancer remain unclear. This study investigated associations of circulating metabolites with visceral (VFA), abdominal subcutaneous (SFA), and total fat area (TFA) in colorectal cancer patients.

Methods: Pre-surgery plasma samples from 212 patients (stage I-IV) from the ColoCare Study were used to perform targeted metabolomics. VFA, SFA, and TFA were quantified by computed tomography scans. Partial correlation and linear regression analyses of VFA, SFA, and TFA with metabolites were computed and corrected for multiple testing. Cox proportional hazards were used to assess 2-year survival.

Results: In patients with metastatic tumors, SFA and TFA were statistically significantly inversely associated with 16 glycerophospholipids (SFA: p range 0.017-0.049; TFA: p range 0.029-0.048), while VFA was not. Doubling of ten of the aforementioned glycerophospholipids was associated with increased risk of death in patients with metastatic tumors, but not in patients with non-metastatic tumors (p range: 0.00044-0.049). Doubling of PC ae C34:0 was associated with ninefold increased risk of death in metastatic tumors (Hazard Ratio [HR], 9.05; 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.17-37.80); an inverse association was observed in non-metastatic tumors (HR 0.17; 95% CI 0.04-0.87; p = 0.00044).

Conclusion: These data provide initial evidence that glycerophospholipids in metastatic colorectal cancer are uniquely associated with subcutaneous adiposity, and may impact overall survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10552-020-01312-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7425810PMC
August 2020

Genome-wide association study of germline copy number variations reveals an association with prostate cancer aggressiveness.

Mutagenesis 2020 07;35(3):283-290

Institute of Cancer Research, Department of Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Prostate cancer is a major health burden, being the second most commonly diagnosed malignancy in men worldwide. Overtreatment represents a major problem in prostate cancer therapy, leading to significant long-term quality-of-life effects for patients and a broad socio-ecological burden. Biomarkers that could facilitate risk stratification of prostate cancer aggressiveness at the time of diagnosis may help to guide clinical treatment decisions and reduce overtreatment. Previous research on genetic variations in prostate cancer has shown that germline copy number variations as well as somatic copy number alterations are commonly present in cancer patients, altering a greater portion of the cancer genome than any other type of genetic variation. To investigate the effect of germline copy number variations on cancer aggressiveness we have compared genome-wide screening data from genomic DNA isolated from the blood of 120 patients with aggressive prostate cancer, 231 patients with non-aggressive prostate cancer and 87 controls with benign prostatic hyperplasia from the Prostate Cancer Study of Austria biobank using the Affymetrix SNP 6.0 array. We could show that patients with an aggressive form of prostate cancer had a higher frequency of copy number variations [mean count of copy number segments (CNS) = 12.9, median count of CNS = 9] compared to patients with non-aggressive prostate cancer (mean count of CNS = 10.4, median count of CNS = 8) or control patients diagnosed with benign prostatic hyperplasia (mean count of CNS = 9.3, median count of CNS = 8). In general, we observed that copy number gain is a rarer event, compared to copy number loss within all three patient groups. Furthermore, we could show a significant effect of copy number losses located on chromosomes 8, 9 and 10 on prostate cancer aggressiveness (P = 0.040, P = 0.037 and P = 0.005, respectively). Applying a cross-validation analysis yielded an area under the curve of 0.63. Our study reports promising findings suggesting that copy number losses might play an important role in the establishment of novel biomarkers to predict prostate cancer aggressiveness at the time of diagnosis. Such markers could be used to facilitate risk stratification to reduce overtreatment of prostate cancer patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mutage/geaa010DOI Listing
July 2020

One-carbon metabolites, B vitamins and associations with systemic inflammation and angiogenesis biomarkers among colorectal cancer patients: results from the ColoCare Study.

Br J Nutr 2020 05 5;123(10):1187-1200. Epub 2020 Feb 5.

Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, UT, USA.

B vitamins involved in one-carbon metabolism have been implicated in the development of inflammation- and angiogenesis-related chronic diseases, such as colorectal cancer (CRC). Yet, the role of one-carbon metabolism in inflammation and angiogenesis among CRC patients remains unclear. The objective of this study was to investigate associations of components of one-carbon metabolism with inflammation and angiogenesis biomarkers among newly diagnosed CRC patients (n 238) in the prospective ColoCare Study, Heidelberg. We cross-sectionally analysed associations between twelve B vitamins and one-carbon metabolites and ten inflammation and angiogenesis biomarkers from pre-surgery serum samples using multivariable linear regression models. We further explored associations among novel biomarkers in these pathways with Spearman partial correlation analyses. We hypothesised that pyridoxal-5'-phosphate (PLP) is inversely associated with inflammatory biomarkers. We observed that PLP was inversely associated with C-reactive protein (CRP) (r -0·33, Plinear < 0·0001), serum amyloid A (SAA) (r -0·23, Plinear = 0·003), IL-6 (r -0·39, Plinear < 0·0001), IL-8 (r -0·20, Plinear = 0·02) and TNFα (r -0·12, Plinear = 0·045). Similar findings were observed for 5-methyl-tetrahydrofolate and CRP (r -0·14), SAA (r -0·14) and TNFα (r -0·15) among CRC patients. Folate catabolite acetyl-para-aminobenzoylglutamic acid (pABG) was positively correlated with IL-6 (r 0·27, Plinear < 0·0001), and pABG was positively correlated with IL-8 (r 0·21, Plinear < 0·0001), indicating higher folate utilisation during inflammation. Our data support the hypothesis of inverse associations between PLP and inflammatory biomarkers among CRC patients. A better understanding of the role and inter-relation of PLP and other one-carbon metabolites with inflammatory processes among colorectal carcinogenesis and prognosis could identify targets for future dietary guidance for CRC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0007114520000422DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7425811PMC
May 2020

Physical activity and risks of breast and colorectal cancer: a Mendelian randomisation analysis.

Nat Commun 2020 01 30;11(1):597. Epub 2020 Jan 30.

Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.

Physical activity has been associated with lower risks of breast and colorectal cancer in epidemiological studies; however, it is unknown if these associations are causal or confounded. In two-sample Mendelian randomisation analyses, using summary genetic data from the UK Biobank and GWA consortia, we found that a one standard deviation increment in average acceleration was associated with lower risks of breast cancer (odds ratio [OR]: 0.51, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.27 to 0.98, P-value = 0.04) and colorectal cancer (OR: 0.66, 95% CI: 0.48 to 0.90, P-value = 0.01). We found similar magnitude inverse associations for estrogen positive (ER) breast cancer and for colon cancer. Our results support a potentially causal relationship between higher physical activity levels and lower risks of breast cancer and colorectal cancer. Based on these data, the promotion of physical activity is probably an effective strategy in the primary prevention of these commonly diagnosed cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-14389-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6992637PMC
January 2020

Circulating Levels of Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 and Insulin-like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 Associate With Risk of Colorectal Cancer Based on Serologic and Mendelian Randomization Analyses.

Gastroenterology 2020 04 27;158(5):1300-1312.e20. Epub 2019 Dec 27.

Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics and the Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

Background & Aims: Human studies examining associations between circulating levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) and insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 (IGFBP3) and colorectal cancer risk have reported inconsistent results. We conducted complementary serologic and Mendelian randomization (MR) analyses to determine whether alterations in circulating levels of IGF1 or IGFBP3 are associated with colorectal cancer development.

Methods: Serum levels of IGF1 were measured in blood samples collected from 397,380 participants from the UK Biobank, from 2006 through 2010. Incident cancer cases and cancer cases recorded first in death certificates were identified through linkage to national cancer and death registries. Complete follow-up was available through March 31, 2016. For the MR analyses, we identified genetic variants associated with circulating levels of IGF1 and IGFBP3. The association of these genetic variants with colorectal cancer was examined with 2-sample MR methods using genome-wide association study consortia data (52,865 cases with colorectal cancer and 46,287 individuals without [controls]) RESULTS: After a median follow-up period of 7.1 years, 2665 cases of colorectal cancer were recorded. In a multivariable-adjusted model, circulating level of IGF1 associated with colorectal cancer risk (hazard ratio per 1 standard deviation increment of IGF1, 1.11; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05-1.17). Similar associations were found by sex, follow-up time, and tumor subsite. In the MR analyses, a 1 standard deviation increment in IGF1 level, predicted based on genetic factors, was associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer risk (odds ratio 1.08; 95% CI 1.03-1.12; P = 3.3 × 10). Level of IGFBP3, predicted based on genetic factors, was associated with colorectal cancer risk (odds ratio per 1 standard deviation increment, 1.12; 95% CI 1.06-1.18; P = 4.2 × 10). Colorectal cancer risk was associated with only 1 variant in the IGFBP3 gene region (rs11977526), which also associated with anthropometric traits and circulating level of IGF2.

Conclusions: In an analysis of blood samples from almost 400,000 participants in the UK Biobank, we found an association between circulating level of IGF1 and colorectal cancer. Using genetic data from 52,865 cases with colorectal cancer and 46,287 controls, a higher level of IGF1, determined by genetic factors, was associated with colorectal cancer. Further studies are needed to determine how this signaling pathway might contribute to colorectal carcinogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2019.12.020DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7152801PMC
April 2020

Cumulative Burden of Colorectal Cancer-Associated Genetic Variants Is More Strongly Associated With Early-Onset vs Late-Onset Cancer.

Gastroenterology 2020 04 19;158(5):1274-1286.e12. Epub 2019 Dec 19.

Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington; Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle, Washington.

Background & Aims: Early-onset colorectal cancer (CRC, in persons younger than 50 years old) is increasing in incidence; yet, in the absence of a family history of CRC, this population lacks harmonized recommendations for prevention. We aimed to determine whether a polygenic risk score (PRS) developed from 95 CRC-associated common genetic risk variants was associated with risk for early-onset CRC.

Methods: We studied risk for CRC associated with a weighted PRS in 12,197 participants younger than 50 years old vs 95,865 participants 50 years or older. PRS was calculated based on single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with CRC in a large-scale genome-wide association study as of January 2019. Participants were pooled from 3 large consortia that provided clinical and genotyping data: the Colon Cancer Family Registry, the Colorectal Transdisciplinary Study, and the Genetics and Epidemiology of Colorectal Cancer Consortium and were all of genetically defined European descent. Findings were replicated in an independent cohort of 72,573 participants.

Results: Overall associations with CRC per standard deviation of PRS were significant for early-onset cancer, and were stronger compared with late-onset cancer (P for interaction = .01); when we compared the highest PRS quartile with the lowest, risk increased 3.7-fold for early-onset CRC (95% CI 3.28-4.24) vs 2.9-fold for late-onset CRC (95% CI 2.80-3.04). This association was strongest for participants without a first-degree family history of CRC (P for interaction = 5.61 × 10). When we compared the highest with the lowest quartiles in this group, risk increased 4.3-fold for early-onset CRC (95% CI 3.61-5.01) vs 2.9-fold for late-onset CRC (95% CI 2.70-3.00). Sensitivity analyses were consistent with these findings.

Conclusions: In an analysis of associations with CRC per standard deviation of PRS, we found the cumulative burden of CRC-associated common genetic variants to associate with early-onset cancer, and to be more strongly associated with early-onset than late-onset cancer, particularly in the absence of CRC family history. Analyses of PRS, along with environmental and lifestyle risk factors, might identify younger individuals who would benefit from preventive measures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2019.12.012DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7103489PMC
April 2020

Identification of Novel Loci and New Risk Variant in Known Loci for Colorectal Cancer Risk in East Asians.

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2020 02 11;29(2):477-486. Epub 2019 Dec 11.

Laboratory for Statistical Analysis, RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences, Kanagawa, Japan.

Background: Risk variants identified so far for colorectal cancer explain only a small proportion of familial risk of this cancer, particularly in Asians.

Methods: We performed a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of colorectal cancer in East Asians, including 23,572 colorectal cancer cases and 48,700 controls. To identify novel risk loci, we selected 60 promising risk variants for replication using data from 58,131 colorectal cancer cases and 67,347 controls of European descent. To identify additional risk variants in known colorectal cancer loci, we performed conditional analyses in East Asians.

Results: An indel variant, rs67052019 at 1p13.3, was found to be associated with colorectal cancer risk at × 10 in Asians ( per allele deletion = 1.13, 95% confidence interval = 1.08-1.18). This association was replicated in European descendants using a variant (rs2938616) in complete linkage disequilibrium with rs67052019 ( = 7.7 × 10). Of the remaining 59 variants, 12 showed an association at < 0.05 in the European-ancestry study, including rs11108175 and rs9634162 at < 5 × 10 and two variants with an association near the genome-wide significance level (rs60911071, = 5.8 × 10; rs62558833, = 7.5 × 10) in the combined analyses of Asian- and European-ancestry data. In addition, using data from East Asians, we identified 13 new risk variants at 11 loci reported from previous GWAS.

Conclusions: In this large GWAS, we identified three novel risk loci and two highly suggestive loci for colorectal cancer risk and provided evidence for potential roles of multiple genes and pathways in the etiology of colorectal cancer. In addition, we showed that additional risk variants exist in many colorectal cancer risk loci identified previously.

Impact: Our study provides novel data to improve the understanding of the genetic basis for colorectal cancer risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-19-0755DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7571256PMC
February 2020

Modifiable pathways for colorectal cancer: a mendelian randomisation analysis.

Lancet Gastroenterol Hepatol 2020 01 24;5(1):55-62. Epub 2019 Oct 24.

Division of Genetics and Epidemiology, Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK.

Background: Epidemiological studies have linked lifestyle, cardiometabolic, reproductive, developmental, and inflammatory factors to the risk of colorectal cancer. However, which specific factors affect risk and the strength of these effects are unknown. We aimed to examine the relationship between potentially modifiable risk factors and colorectal cancer.

Methods: We used a random-effects model to examine the relationship between 39 potentially modifiable risk factors and colorectal cancer in 26 397 patients with colorectal cancer and 41 481 controls (ie, people without colorectal cancer). These population data came from a genome-wide association study of people of European ancestry, which was amended to exclude UK BioBank data. In the model, we used genetic variants as instruments via two-sample mendelian randomisation to limit bias from confounding and reverse causation. We calculated odds ratios per genetically predicted SD unit increase in each putative risk factor (OR) for colorectal cancer risk. We did mendelian randomisation Egger regressions to identify evidence of potential violations of mendelian randomisation assumptions. A Bonferroni-corrected threshold of p=1·3 × 10 was considered significant, and p values less than 0·05 were considered to be suggestive of an association.

Findings: No putative risk factors were significantly associated with colorectal cancer risk after correction for multiple testing. However, suggestive associations with increased risk were noted for genetically predicted body fat percentage (OR 1·14 [95% CI 1·03-1·25]; p=0·0086), body-mass index (1·09 [1·01-1·17]; p=0·023), waist circumference (1·13 [1·02-1·26]; p=0·018), basal metabolic rate (1·10 [1·03-1·18]; p=0·0079), and concentrations of LDL cholesterol (1·14 [1·04-1·25]; p=0·0056), total cholesterol (1·09 [1·01-1·18]; p=0·025), circulating serum iron (1·17 [1·00-1·36]; p=0·049), and serum vitamin B12 (1·21 [1·04-1·42]; p=0·016), although potential pleiotropy among genetic variants used as instruments for vitamin B12 constrains the finding. A suggestive association was also noted between adult height and increased risk of colorectal cancer (OR 1·04 [95% CI 1·00-1·08]; p=0·032). Low blood selenium concentration had a suggestive association with decreased risk of colorectal cancer (OR 0·85 [95% CI 0·75-0·96]; p=0·0078) based on a single variant, as did plasma concentrations of interleukin-6 receptor subunit α (also based on a single variant; 0·98 [0·96-1·00]; p=0·035). Risk of colorectal cancer was not associated with any sex hormone or reproductive factor, serum calcium, or circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations.

Interpretation: This analysis identified several modifiable targets for primary prevention of colorectal cancer, including lifestyle, obesity, and cardiometabolic factors, that should inform public health policy.

Funding: Cancer Research UK, UK Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit Centre, DJ Fielding Medical Research Trust, EU COST Action, and the US National Cancer Institute.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2468-1253(19)30294-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7026696PMC
January 2020

Plasma metabolites associated with colorectal cancer stage: Findings from an international consortium.

Int J Cancer 2020 06 10;146(12):3256-3266. Epub 2019 Oct 10.

Division of Preventive Oncology, National Center for Tumor Diseases and German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany.

Colorectal cancer is the second most common cause of cancer-related death globally, with marked differences in prognosis by disease stage at diagnosis. We studied circulating metabolites in relation to disease stage to improve the understanding of metabolic pathways related to colorectal cancer progression. We investigated plasma concentrations of 130 metabolites among 744 Stages I-IV colorectal cancer patients from ongoing cohort studies. Plasma samples, collected at diagnosis, were analyzed with liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry using the Biocrates AbsoluteIDQ™ p180 kit. We assessed associations between metabolite concentrations and stage using multinomial and multivariable logistic regression models. Analyses were adjusted for potential confounders as well as multiple testing using false discovery rate (FDR) correction. Patients presented with 23, 28, 39 and 10% of Stages I-IV disease, respectively. Concentrations of sphingomyelin C26:0 were lower in Stage III patients compared to Stage I patients (p  < 0.05). Concentrations of sphingomyelin C18:0 and phosphatidylcholine (diacyl) C32:0 were statistically significantly higher, while citrulline, histidine, phosphatidylcholine (diacyl) C34:4, phosphatidylcholine (acyl-alkyl) C40:1 and lysophosphatidylcholines (acyl) C16:0 and C17:0 concentrations were lower in Stage IV compared to Stage I patients (p  < 0.05). Our results suggest that metabolic pathways involving among others citrulline and histidine, implicated previously in colorectal cancer development, may also be linked to colorectal cancer progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32666DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7216900PMC
June 2020

Metabolomics Analytics Workflow for Epidemiological Research: Perspectives from the Consortium of Metabolomics Studies (COMETS).

Metabolites 2019 Jul 17;9(7). Epub 2019 Jul 17.

Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

The application of metabolomics technology to epidemiological studies is emerging as a new approach to elucidate disease etiology and for biomarker discovery. However, analysis of metabolomics data is complex and there is an urgent need for the standardization of analysis workflow and reporting of study findings. To inform the development of such guidelines, we conducted a survey of 47 cohort representatives from the Consortium of Metabolomics Studies (COMETS) to gain insights into the current strategies and procedures used for analyzing metabolomics data in epidemiological studies worldwide. The results indicated a variety of applied analytical strategies, from biospecimen and data pre-processing and quality control to statistical analysis and reporting of study findings. These strategies included methods commonly used within the metabolomics community and applied in epidemiological research, as well as novel approaches to pre-processing pipelines and data analysis. To help with these discrepancies, we propose use of open-source initiatives such as the online web-based tool COMETS Analytics, which includes helpful tools to guide analytical workflow and the standardized reporting of findings from metabolomics analyses within epidemiological studies. Ultimately, this will improve the quality of statistical analyses, research findings, and study reproducibility.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/metabo9070145DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6681081PMC
July 2019
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